Morenci year-end police report 01.13.10

Written by David Green.

Crime statistics go up and down from year to year in Morenci, but overall the various incidents remain consistent, said police chief Larry Weeks in his annual year-end report to city council Monday night.

“It remains fairly consistent,” Weeks said. “We live in a safe community. It’s a good place to live. We do have some crime, as every community does, but it’s not dramatic and it’s not out of control so I feel comfortable about where we’re at.”

Chief Weeks said the past year was the first in a while for consistent staffing. He’s faced layoffs and short-term employment by officers moving on to larger departments, but recent months have brought stability.

“I’ve had my most consistent crew that I’ve had in the seven years that I’ve been here,” he said.

Weeks noted an overall increase of 80 calls over the previous year, but a few fewer calls than 2007.

The incidence of larcenies and bad checks were both down despite the weak economy, he said, along with damaged property.

Healthy and safety complaints—dog problems, tall grass, etc., declined but, but that was partially due to a change in procedure.

Weeks noted an increase in suspicious situations and general disputes about property, along with an increase in calls to serve outside the city.

The state police and county sheriff’s department have been cut back in staff and local departments are sometimes called to help fill the void.

“That’s something we’re going to have to seriously continue to monitor,” Weeks said.

Community outreach efforts continue to remain high. Weeks said he’s spent a lot of time in the school buildings—something he considers important.

A special effort in 2009 was a collaboration with the fire department to talk with high school seniors about smoke detectors in relation to fire safety in dormitories and off-campus living.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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